Career Center

Undergraduate Students

We invite you to use all of the Career Center resources in your work to identify and make sense of all the choices that interest you as you consider your career path. Take control of defining and developing a variety of options now and into the future by taking advantage of your Career Center, early and often.

Attend a workshop or Drop-in Advising            See an adviser           Internships

First-Year and Sophomore Specific Information

christina plante headshot

Greetings! Are you figuring out what to get involved in? Want to connect with people who are doing things you are interested in? Or, maybe figure out what your interests and strengths even are? I am Christina Plante, a career counselor who leads the First-Year and Sophomore Initiative in the Career Center, and I want to tell you how and why you should take advantage of your Career Center while at Duke.

The purpose of this initiative is to save you time and stress by understanding early what career development is, how you can use it now to guide your career decisions, and how you can continue to use these skills after Duke.

decision making process wheel

We have broken this process down into four areas including know yourself, investigate options, understand experience, and search strategically. Think about this approach as a wheel. You will most likely go through several rotations as you make career choices.

Career Development/Decision-Making Process

During advising appointments, we look at what you are interested in, explore your likes and dislikes, identify skills you prefer to use and ones you want to develop, and reflect on past experiences to guide future decisions. We also examine how your strengths can impact your interest areas, how your personality can direct certain work environments, and how your personal values guide career choices.

We will talk about some big questions like what is your purpose? What gives you energy? And what do you care about? This will most likely get you thinking critically and deeply about where and how you choose to spend your time.  We also address your specific job search related questions about resumes, cover letters, networking, interviewing, and more! Our best advice is that you focus on being open to opportunities, build a Board of Directors, learn how to talk about yourself and experiences to others, and not be afraid to fail along the way. Check out our Professional Development Checklist below to learn more.

 _____    Focus on academics while getting to know Duke.  
Take the time you need to acclimate to Duke’s curriculum. Attend classes and seek out resources that will help you be successful. Get organized in a way that works for you and adapt your time management if something is not working.

_____    Research an organization, team, or club to get involved in on campus.
Begin discovering your interests, connecting with friends, and exploring student groups and causes you would like to contribute to during your time at Duke. Browse,  

_____    Explore the Duke Career Center’s website.
We have developed useful content including industry-specific guides, Resume and Cover Letter Guides, and a full Event Calendar. You will be able to have a more intentional and productive conversation with an adviser after exploring this interesting content. Begin at Get Started.

_____    Connect and add at least one faculty or staff member to your board of directors each semester.  
Attend office hours and campus programs; ask questions and show interest. Foster good relationships with your College Advisor, FAC, RA, Residential Coordinator, professor, etc. These individuals can serve as important sources of information, relevant events/workshops, encouragement, and future recommendations.

_____    Create and adapt your resume.    
Whether this is your first time creating a professional resume, or you simply want to update the one you used during high school, the Career Center has resources to help with this process. Use resume instruction videos and samples on our website, come to Drop-in Advising for a resume review, and remember to update it with each new relevant experience.

_____    Get to know yourself.
Identify your personal and professional values, interests, and skills. Conduct self-assessment activities and reflect on your past and current experiences. Who are you becoming and what are your goals?

_____    Investigate your major and career development.   
Be curious and ask questions. Research majors, industries, companies, causes, products, etc. you believe in and ask yourself how can you find out more? Track what excites you daily as you are going through your classes and activities. This can help you see what energizes you.

_____    Professional Development and Skills Workshops
Try to attend special workshops for first-year and sophomore students that focus on personal
and professional strengths, values, plans, and opportunities to aid in exploration, major choice,
and professional development.

[Printable pdf of Checklist]


Drop-in Advising

No appointment necessary! Bring quick questions or printed application documents (resumes, cover letters) to be reviewed by a career adviser or Career Ambassador Team member.  Drop-in Advising is available several weekdays at the Career Center from 1:00-4:00 p.m. in our Resource Room.

Career Advising Appointments

Our goal is to support you as you explore career options, interests, and opportunities. We look forward to meeting you! Schedule an appointment online in CareerConnections several days in advance. Scheduling in your first year at Duke is very beneficial.

Professional Development Workshops and Career Fairs

A number of workshops, discussions, career fairs and unique advising opportunities are offered each year to help you explore and make decisions.

Duke CareerConnections

View and apply for thousands of opportunities available around the world (offered especially for Duke students). On-Campus Interviews are managed through CareerConnections. You will want to keep an eye on CareerConnections for career events and opportunities. Log-in and update your profile today!

Mock Interviews

Want to learn more about interviewing and practice before applying to internships, on-campus jobs, and/or campus leadership roles?  The Career Center is here to help!  Talk to your adviser about it in your first appointment. We also offer a Practice Interview Day each semester.

Fannie Mitchell Expert-in-Residence Program

Gain information and inspiration from Duke alumni and other experts. The Fannie Mitchell Expert-in-Residence Program features accomplished professionals who come to Duke to share specialized knowledge and provide individual career advice to students. The program’s purpose is to stimulate new ideas and provide advising for students who are searching for career directions.

Stay Informed

Social Media
Learn about events at Duke, see our favorite career-related articles, a weekly featured opportunity, and more.
We post how-to videos, advice from guests we’ve invited to campus and your peers. Our library is always growing.
Learn what your fellow students are up to with some laughs and useful information thrown in for good measure.
We share all of our events, career-related articles, and an occasional live-tweet of a panel or presentation.
Student Affairs Blog
We add important, timely posts often— provided by experts with your interest in mind.

Questions to ask myself

  • If I were to choose a major at this moment, what would it be and why?
  • What skills do I want to learn in order to prepare for a career?
  • If I could do one thing for free, what would it be?
  • What can I see myself doing for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
  • What are the positive/negative sides of choosing this major?
  • What jobs/hobbies/extracurricular activities have I enjoyed the most so far?
  • How would I spend my time if money didn’t matter?
  • What are my goals at Duke? What are my goals in my career and life? How can they coexist?
  • What is my gut telling me regarding major choice?
  • Have I talked to anyone in the majors I am considering? 
  • Have I met a Duke alum yet, and asked them what they studied?
  • Have I looked at Duke alumni on LinkedIn and/or Duke Alumni Directory to see their majors and different positions?
  • What interests do I want to explore?
  • Are there any problems I would like to address or solve? How might what I study factor in to my ability to tackle those problems?
  • What have I been successful in so far? (You can measure this success by coursework you’ve taken, organizations  you’ve founded or been a part of, athletics, or by utilizing a particular skillset.)
  • What subjects do I like the most? Do these subjects come naturally to me?

Questions to ask departments or advisors

  • Does this major allow for research, study abroad, and/or internships/fellowships?
  • Why do students select this major?
  • What are the implications of majoring in this subject versus minoring in it?
  • How much flexibility does this major have? (Consider those college/life/career goals)
  • What are the specific course requirements for this major?
  • Are there scholarships/funding available specifically for students in this major?
  • What skills will this major help me develop?
  • What kinds of jobs do students with this major typically pursue?
  • Is graduate school usually required to work in the fields associated with this major?